Hawaii ....Where to we start??

Old Jan 24th, 2003, 02:24 PM
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Suzanne
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Hawaii ....Where to we start??

I posted a message on this board before and would like to say a huge thank you to all the people who replied your advice was exteremly helpful. But now the group i'm travelling with have finalised the dates and I need some advice again!! So here's our story... we're a group of four girls from Ireland and we're heading off for the month of July. Our first stop is in L.A for 3 days is there anything we just have to see besides the Hollywood sign, the walk of fame and the stars homes??? Also is there any accomadation that anybody could recommend. From L.A we fly to Honululu for three weeks... is there any accomadation there that anybody would recommend and what sites are a must see... we are very much interested in travelling to the other islands especilly the Big Island.. again what do you recommend on the accomadation and site seeing front, after our three weeks in Hawaii we fly to New York, where we stay for 3 days and again the same cry for information applies on the accomadation and site seeing front. We each have roughly a budget of about $2,500 spending money, not including accomadation, will this be enough?? We've never been outside Europe so this trip is our trip of a life time, our little piece of paradise, so any information or advice that anybody is willing to share will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 03:52 PM
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First why 3 weeks in honululu. If you can split it up between the 4 major islands. And if you can split it up spend the most time on Maui, second Oahu, last big island, and kauai.You can take a plane to each island from each island. ok sites. oahu rent a car and tour the whole island visiting the many beaches and every night there is a free hula music show in wakiki next to the big surfer statue.Maui take a snorkle trip and whale watch trip, rent snorkle gear and go to the kanapalli area, the sheraton hotel and snorkle Black Rock. its free and the area has a shoping area and nice places to eat ( cheap).Maui has more sites to visit so look at different internet sites of activities for Maui and any island you wish. You will find out Maui is the best and lots of night life.Oahu is also very nice and lots of night life, but somewhat limited in activities.so if i were you i would spend 1 week in honululu , 1 week in Maui,and 4 days kauai, 3 days on the Big Island. just my opinion. kauai has many sites to see like ( blow hole )huge waterfalls, the fern grotto, but the best i think is( kee beach ) there you can snorkle in a great lagoon ( protected water) and right next to the beach is a great mountain ridge hike ( hike up to water falls and go till you quit smiling, very beautifull vistas over the ocean) really not to hard.K EEP your food cost down by eating at fast food places ( really not that expensive) and then scout out a nice dinner place hint ( subways ) sandwich shops are a national chain very good . once again seek out internet sites on vacations on each island and plan to see as many sites as possible , i would not recomend tour buses to slow and they go to gift shops to much, rent a car, snorkle gear at snorkle bobs, and explore the islands. Activities can be found by the internet the one i used was ( activity warehouse). In new york time square area there is a 1/2 price broadway sho tickets booth for that day shows ask arround for exact location , but get there very early there can be long lines but worth it.A ns last but not least pay homage to the fallen Firefighters at ground zero. have fun , Nick . ( captain houston, texas fire Department )
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 07:22 PM
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don't spend much time in Honolulu. Loved Kauai. Lots of things there to do for free!! hike! waterfalls! It's great!!!!!
 
Old Jan 28th, 2003, 11:04 AM
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In L.A. visit Venice Beach. You'll enjoy that. Also stop at Santa Monica's Peer.
In N.Y. Go to the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Wall Street, Empire State building. You must go see a broadway play, but do only pay 1/2 price.
I'm going to Hawaii this summer myself so I can't help you there.
Good luck and have fun.
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Old Jan 30th, 2003, 06:35 AM
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If Honolulu or Oahu were anywhere else in the world, they would be stunning destinations in their own right. However, the fact that they are surrounded by the rest of Hawaii puts them in a different light. To visit Hawaii and stay only in Honolulu would be like staying in Blackpool and thinking you have seen the UK. You should undoubtedly spend a few days in HNL to get your bearings, catch up on your sleep, see Pearl Harbour etc. If you have the budget, it may be worth hiring a car as the rest of the island is definitely worth seeing. You may find driving a bit too much though as this is basically a busy American city where they drive on the wrong side of the road (ha ha)- albeit in an absolutely stunning setting. Don't worry too much if you don't get out of HNL, because the other islands are probably going to amaze you more, scenically. You will probably be able to live more cheaply on the other islands, too. Of the other islands, I have only visited Kauai and Molokai, though I'm in the throes of planning a trip to Maui and the Big Island. What you need to do is read a good guidebook to the whole of Hawaii (I would recommend Lonely Planet), and keep referring to the maps as you read about places, or you will get very confused as most of the place names look unpronouncable at first, and quite similar. You should get a feel for what appeals to you. The scenery and weather vary hugely depending on which part of each island you are on. The bits with the built-up beach resorts are generally on the drier and therefore less lush and scenic parts of the islands. It is obviously a matter of taste, but it strikes me that although you will undoubtedly want to spend some time lazing on the beach, snorkelling etc, it is the less developed parts which are more unique. You may well never get to Hawaii again (though I guarantee you will want to - it gets into your blood somehow), but I'm sure you will have other opportunities to sunbathe and snorkel. What I'm trying to say is- make sure you devote enough time to getting away from the beach crowds. Very simply, there are 4 other islands which you should try to get to. 1) Maui - expensive beach resorts on west coast but supposedly stunning scenery elsewhere on the island- read about Haleakala and the road to Hana 2) Kauai - breathtaking sea cliffs and valleys (think Jurassic Park) on the North Shore - you will never do a more worthwhile day's hiking in your life, plus a scaled down version of the Grand Canyon (Waimea Canyon) on the southern part of the island 3) Big Island - again, supposedly beatiful scenery along the North Shore, but mainly read about Volcanoes National Park 4) Molokai - Fly in from HNL for the day to visit the Kalaupapa Peninsula, a former leper colony, but what an absolutely amazing place to be banished to! You ride down the world's tallest sea-cliffs (as high as a 300-storey skyscraper according to one source...) on a mule, down to the peninsula, for a tour. If you do a search here on Molokai or Kalaupapa you will probably find a previous post of me going on about this, so I won't repeat it. It is moderately expensive, and you should book it before you travel, but please try to get there as it is such a unique place.
You will probably need to rent a car on Maui, the Big Island and Kauai for at least some of the time. I've only driven on Kauai myself, but as it's really a pretty quiet place with a very simple road layout, this is no problem. I would imagine the Big Island is similar.
Hope all this helps to simplify what seems like an overwhelming planning task the first time you open a guidebook.
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Old Jan 30th, 2003, 08:02 AM
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Ok so you don't want to spend all of your time in any area but Honolulu comparisons with Blackpool? I DON"T THINK SO. Not unless Blackpool has Forrests, waterfalls, Cultural centers, and a cross section of ethnic cuisines?

It all depends on what you are traveling for Suzanne. If you want to explore Asian culture than Honolulu has a number of sights. I like going to the Japanese cultural center if you are lucky you can catch a live tea ceremony. Over the Pali and on the windward side Byodo Temple is an absolute must see. There is another temple in Honolulu with a Palm tree garden grounds for strolling. The monks are very visible here that was interesting for me on my first trips over. Anyone out there help me out on a name? I would also see if Kabuki is on at U.H. They perform here in NYC city sometimes. Keep your eyes peeled for Bon dances but that season is usually in August. I have seen some clubs do this outside of August.

You might want to check calendar events at the Hawaii visitors bureau. I also like to see what is on at the Blasdell. Depending on the time of year, you might catch a made in Hawaii festival, although I think that is in August. Other festivals and shows will be on in July.

If you are a James Mitchner fan you can see some prints at the Academy of Arts. I would think the Asian collections here in general will out weigh what you will see in England and Ireland. Of course you want to eat a few nights in China Town also and taste real Chinese food. Lived in London I never had anything that compares with China Town on Oahu and I would say that about NYC also. Apart from food china town is the best place of any island for buying fresh leis.

I also would never leave Oahu without going to Ialani Palace. You will hear the story from guides about the overthrow of Hawaii. Go on Fridays and here the Royal Hawaiian play while you enjoy the picnic lunch you brought. You do this on the lawn where by the pavilion where the last coronation took place. From this I would do a drive out to the North Shore stopping off along the way to look at the Alii birthing grounds and then off to a spectacular view of the pacific from the Heau on the North Shore.

Of course this is all if you are up to seeing something of Hawaii's history. Asia is a big part of that and thankfully the food and colors that go along with that. Of course the landscape is wonderful but if you want to know the island take in something and the people and their history.

I like to Hike also and could go on.

If you know that you just want to sit on 1-2 beaches, and are looking for isolation and solitude than of course head to the other islands.

If I were going to LA from Ireland I would be considering a dinner at Wolf Gang Puck's Spago, Venice Beach Stroll, Rodeo drive maybe a day or two at Universal Studios. Have not done any of these but they are what comes to mind.

No right or wrong plans but don't underestimate the value of Honolulu either. That is all I am saying. I have gone over with people that only wanted the North Shore of Kauai. I think they missed out but I like exploring.
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Old Jan 31st, 2003, 10:10 PM
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May've said this before .. go to the state's site, lots of good info about the different islands and their activities. If your budget is limited then you'll want to keep the island hopping down - and apparently it's going to be less convenient for everyone as the carriers are cutting schedules.
I love Maui & Kauai, no real experience with the other islands (yet). Based on that, for first-timers, I'd recommend Maui because Kauai nightlife is too quiet for some. If you're planning on July then you'd better get booking places to stay.. May/June would likely offer better prices. See gohawaii.com

Either way, you'll love it !
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Old Feb 1st, 2003, 03:55 PM
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Sarah/Suzanne - I wasn't trying to imply that HNL is in any way reminiscent of Blackpool! I made the comment purely to illustrate the point that many British people I have met equate Hawaii with high-rise beach resorts and nothing else. I don't know why there is so much ignorance here about how much more there is to the State than Waikiki and Maui (obviously I am not talking about the sort of people who will be reading this post..) It just makes me so sad when I talk to people who have spent a fortnight in Waikiki or on the West Coast of Maui and are under the impression that they have 'seen' Hawaii. I totally agree that HNL/Oahu has a great deal to offer, as the first sentence of the post was intended to make clear. Off the point entirely, but I imagine Blackpool does have a cross-section of ethnic cuisines! There cannot be a town in Britain now that doesn't!
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Old Feb 1st, 2003, 09:12 PM
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My family and I visited oahu and the big island in Nov 2002.

I would recomend going to the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. They have a web site. Also go to see Pearl Harbor, it was a humbling expirence. The city bus is the best and cheapest way to get around you can buy passes a local convenience stores, or pay per ride ($1.50 with 1 transfer) After a few days there I would recomend going to another island. There's not a whole lot to oahu.

We spent a week on the Big Island. We stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. It is on the more expensive side, but well worth it. It is a beautiful resort. You can get more info at hilton.com. Also try to go see the volcano's from the sky. There are a lot of helicopter services, but since we were traveling with a young child, we opted to take an airplane flight service. Mokulele flight services was an enjoyable ride. They also have a web site and are a lot cheaper then a helicopter. The town of Kailua-Kona has a fun collage age atmosphere. Up the coast around the town of Kawaihae there is a resteraunt, The Bamboo, the food was delicious and the waitress danced the hula while we ate. The Hilo side of the Island is pretty comercialized, but the drive around the island is pretty amazing. You will see rolling hills, black lava stone, rain forest, farm land, and ocean.

Hawaii.com is a great site, so is hawaiiactivies.com
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 07:26 AM
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Anyone who has spent a fortnight in Waikiki or the west coast of Maui HAS seen Hawaii. Does anyone really expect every person who visits Hawaii to see ALL parts of All the Hawaiian islands?

Is it necessary to visit EVERTY European country before one has seen Europe?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 11:23 AM
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Rusty, Absolutely YES, one must see most of Europe at least to say they have seen Europe! I have been to Italy, France and England, can I say I have seen Europe? No. I have not been to Prague, Germany, Spain, countries with entirely different atmospheres, personalities!
Hawaii is not one big Miami, so that you can say-you've been there. Each island has it's own character, you have to do it to say you have done it
What a hard task to set for oneself-to see ALL of Hawaii!!
Kate (
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 02:13 PM
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Have not done Oahu (heading there next week) or Molokai. My favorite is the Big Island. Love staying at the Hilton Waikoloa Village and touring the island to check on the volcano and the Hilo side.

Kauai is the green, tropical Hawaii that I had originally pictured before visiting the state. it's excellent for outdoors adventures - hands down the best hiking and views of any of the islands - but lacking in trivial pursuits like landside night entertainment.

Maui was my first experience and now seems very slick and touristy compared to the other islands.

Wherever you choose to go - do pick up "The Big Island Revealed", "Maui Revealed", or "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed". All books are written by the same local authors and give you an easy to read, locate, guide to the best and worst that the islands have to offer.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 01:15 PM
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I grew up on Oahu and lived in Los Angeles for six years before moving to New York - so I consider myself uniquely qualified to help plan your trip. Although I agree with some of the posters that every Hawaiian island has unique attractions, and by definition you haven't seen everything unless you've gone everywhere, in the interest of saving money (interisland flights are expensive unless you have a Hawaiian drivers license) and staying relaxed I'd limit my visit to two or at most three islands, even for a three week visit. On Oahu all hotels are either in Waikiki (a crowded, tourist-filled stretch of high-rise concrete with a picturesque but crowded beach) or on the isolated North Shore. You can have a lot of fun - most of the nightlife is in Waikiki or nearby Honolulu - but staying there means missing out on much of the exotica of Hawaii. Rent a car or get very familiar with the bus system. Snorkle in Hanauma Bay, learn to windsurf in Kailua Bay, watch the Kodak Hula Show (free) and tour the Pearl Harbor memorial (cheap). In July you won't see the famous giant surf of the North Shore but you'll be able to swim in some beautful bays - avoid the horribly overpriced Mormon-run Polynesian Cultural Center. The Waimea Falls Park is beautiful, historic (the surrounding cliffs are full of ancient Hawaiian royalty burial crypts), and across the street from the even more gorgeous Waimea Bay. Closer to Waikiki head up Tantalus for a beautiful view and hike into the rainforest. Be careful - hitchhiking isn't as common as safe as it is in Ireland and there have been instances of anti-caucasion violence in lower-income areas like Waimanalo and the North Shore (mostly directed at the military). Watch your belongings, and if you rent a car don't keep anything valuable in it. Oahu can be a spectacular place if you are organized enough to get out of Waikiki.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 01:36 PM
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With 3 weeks you probably will want to get off Oahu to see more sights. Each island offers something a little different and I would choose the one that best matches your group's interests. Kauai is the classic honeymoon location - sleepy, beautiful (the location for Jurassic Park and 6 Days, 7 Nights), with plenty of one-stop resorts. The Big Island (the nickname for the island of Hawaii so as not to confuse it with the state) has active volcanoes and spectacular mountains, but it is HUGE - it would take at least one very long day with no stops to drive around the whole thing. If you want to see the lava be very careful about making sure your hotel is on the right part of the island. Lanai is empty but for a few huge resorts, and Molokai is very rustic - no significant town center to speak of and not much in the way of tourist amenities. I usually steer people to Maui because it has a good balance of resorts, nature (Haleakala mountain, the road to Hana and the even more amazing road BEYOND Hana, etc.), and even some nightlife in Lahaina. A rental car is probably even more important here than on Oahu, but there are plenty of reasonable hotels in the Kaanapali/Kapalua area with amazing beaches/snorkeling that are close to Lahaina. With 3 weeks to spare I would definitely recommend visiting the town of Hana - but arrange a 1-night stay so you can avoid the rat race of driving there and back the same day. The dining choices are limited (don't miss the take-out window of the Hana Ranch across the street from the Hana Hotel resort) but it gives you an unparalleled view of true old Hawaii with black and red sand beaches, rainforests (bring umbrellas and bug spray just in case), and friendly locals. Heck - with 3 weeks I would spend two nights there, just for the memories. And then take the road BEYOND Hana (ignore the rental company's warnings - your car will make it unless it has rained recently) to see how quickly the island can go from rainforest to desert as you drive around the mountain. You will end up driving into the "upcountry" (try the wine at the historic Tedeschi Winery/Ulupalakua Ranch) before dropping down into the central valley and heading back to whatever beach resort you want to make your home base. If Hana sounds like too much of an adventure you could drive past Kaanapali and Kapalua around the West Mountains as far as you dare (at the far end that road scares me more than the road beyond Hana) to get a similar flavor.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 01:49 PM
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In West Hollywood a cheap hotel that has gotten a lot of well-deserved press is "The Standard" - the lobby has a DJ and a shag carpet ceiling, the pool is ringed with sky blue astroturf. Plenty of fun bars are nearby - don't miss the infamous "Sky Bar". Leave a voicemail request to get in at (323) 848-6025 with a made-up story that makes your group sound rich and important - a female Irish accent won't hurt either - and you will get on the guest list. No cover charge, but save your serious drinking money for cheaper places like Dublin's Irish Whiskey Pub (which is really fun but isn't truly Irish or a Pub) or whatever seems hip for the moment. As far as LA sights go, I usually spend my time on the west side in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Malibu (I prefer the beaches to inland LA smog). The Getty Museum is a must-see for its architecture and location, though the collection is small compared to older European museums. There is lots and lots to see, but be strategic or you'll spend all of your time in traffic instead of enjoying yourself ' "LA is 72 suburbs in search of a city", and only a local knows which of the twenty-plus freeways won't be clogged at any moment.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 03:04 PM
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ukfiona
I know you were talking about not staying for two weeks. I was trying to tell you about what it sounds like you missed, probably provoked by the comparison with Blackpool. Yah said you were not making a comparison but then you defended Blackpool’s ethnic eateries. Just think if you went to even some of the sights that I mention you would feel the same. And I did not even mention the windward side.

Were you aware of the state park in St. Louis heights just behind Waikiki and in Honolulu? Did you go to Manoa falls behind Waikiki? Have you been to Iolani Palace? You can stay on Oahu in and around Honolulu and have a great trip. You can go explore the beach and reef life on any of the islands and never take home anything of Hawaiian social history. Not something I would ever consider if I went to Europe yet so many dismiss this on a trip to Hawaii. …I never get that.

I guess in short you don’t see any place in two weeks. I get sick over the people that go to Pearl Harbor and don’t even consider Iolani Palace. Too each his own, two weeks is too short for any place but you can still have a great vacation focusing on Oahu.

Don’t want to touch the restaurant comment except to say sounds like you missed something eatable? All in fun ukfiona but there are great things about Oahu that always get rammed on here. My first introduction to Hawaii was 3 months in Waikiki and I loved it but I did not confine myself to the concrete strip of Kalakalua Avenue.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 03:18 PM
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Suzanne.
there are also a lot of condo and home rentals on the windward side. I love this side. The Moana is my favorite in Waikiki but a lot of people also rave about the Ocean View rooms at the Royal Hawaiian. These are all high-end places though. Group of girls headed for fun, I say a week at the ilikai (Waikiki Marina front), inexpensive if you rent a condo through the condo association on the second floor (not found online). If you are willing to rough it 4 of you can fit into a studio separated by shogun doors (pull out couch and two twins), July is high season so get a cracken.

Not heading for big city lights, look for condos on line they are all over the island. North Shore in sunset beach area is prime, that extends through pipeline and some other beaches. Kailua, Lanikai, Bellows area are my picks for windward.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 02:01 PM
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Sarah - Last thing I want to do is get embroiled in a debate about the delights of Oahu, of which I am as much a fan as anyone. In my various stays there with two friendly residents as guides, I've visited most of the places you mention. Coming from Britain, as the Irish girls do too, what can't help but impress me most about the islands is essentially the stuff we don't have here - namely the scenery etc. Whilst we have history, museums, cosmopolitan cities, military memorials, ethnic cuisines etc aplenty here - towering sea cliffs, gorgeous deserted beaches, waterfallsin the rainforest, coral reefs and tropical fish, erupting volcanoes etc etc..are pretty thin on the ground. Maybe I'm wrong in making the assumption that most people travel to experience things that they can't experience at home, but I know that the differences from home are what I get the biggest kick out of. Wonderful as HNL is, my view is that more of the 'differences' exist outside of it.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 02:59 PM
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Are you the "Irish tourists" who were kicking around the board a few months ago???
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 03:32 PM
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Yeah this is a silly argument ukfiona
I certainly understand wanting to explore the outer islands. I would never go to New Zealand and stay in Auckland over exploring South Island. Now that my dear is a comparison I can live with!

You don't have the Asian food that Honolulu has. You missed Chinatown completely if you think you can find it at home. Also, the concentration of high-end chefs does out weigh what most metropolitan areas in Britain offer, barring London of course. People might make a name for themselves in France but the go to Shangrala to make a living. Honolulu is more of a cash cow for chefs, judging by the number of top restaurants as compared to the outer islands.

Also, when I was talking about history I was referring to Hawaiian History. You are telling people they have not really seen Hawaii unless they have left Honolulu. Fair enough, but then you tell us we have history at home, don't need to explore this on Oahu. You are dismissing 1000 years of Hawaiian history. This does not add up. Cutting out the social history of any place limits your experience.

Ok I am sorry, I just have to say it again. I don’t understand how people understand this concept when they go to Italy or France but they don’t get it elsewhere? Not coming after you Ukfiona just something I think about, plenty of people here do it also. They just don’t think about the culture of Hawaii.

By the by I just finished a book by a British Author David Lodge, "Paradise News". He follows a group of British Tourist on their holiday making in Waikiki. It's cute, he focuses on one middle aged Irish man (British Resident) who finds love. Sort of a mans romance novel and that is funny in itself. ANYWHO, fun, quickie read if you are missing Hawaii. It will certainly remind you of your trip.

Suzanne some books on Hawaiian History I would strongly recommend to enhance your experience

The Hawaii Story by Queen Liloukilani
By the by she held the British Monarchy in high regard. She dedicates at least a chapter to the coronation of Queen Victoria (?),she attended. Pretty wild reading about the reception Hawaiian Royalty in England in those days.

Concise History of the Hawaiian Islands
by Phil Barnes, Dr. Phil Barnes Quick and you can impress friends at parties

Shoal of Time (but it is dry and long winded like me) by Gavan Daws (A reference if you have a big interest)

There is a relatively new book on Captain Cook, Blue Latitudes by Tony Horowitz
The writing is funny and contemporary. He tracks Cooks path on 3 voyages by taking his own holiday. Only a portion of the book focuses on Hawaii but it tells you all about the first western contacts with Polynesia.

Hawaii by Robert Mitchner if you want a novel, rent the 1963 movie if you find the 800 or so pages daunting.

Movies: The Picture Bride
Great Movie. Rent it even if you don't go.

From here to Eternity just to look at the landscape of 40 years ago on Oahu.

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